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Italy and the African Union

Visita Conte Unione Africana 2018

The European Union is the main funder to the African Union. And Italy is the third funder, after Germany and France, to the EU budget (12.53% of the total). Furthermore, Italy is Africa’s third bilateral trading partner and the third largest investor in the continent.

It should also be said that both foreign trade and Italy’s investments in Africa are concentrated in the countries of Africa Mediterranean, plus South Africa and Nigeria, and mainly concern the oil and fuel sector.

See: https://www.ice.it/it/studi-e-rapporti/rapporto-ice-annuario-istat-ice

As for the AU, after the establishment of the “Africa Peace Facility” by the EU in 2004, Italy also wanted to establish a special fund of 40 million Euros, the Italian-African Peace Facility” (IAPF), operational since the end of 2007, to finance AU projects. With IAPF funds, the following loans have been granted in recent years:

  • in July 2018, 418,852 USD to fund an AU program of training courses for African officials on the use of renewable energy;
  • in May 2019, 1,963,220 USD as the first installment of a total funding of $ 4 million for an AU program to support Somali communities (schools and clinics) in the areas of Somalia where AMISOM operates.

In May 2018, Italy then decided to establish a special Representative at the AU, appointing an Ambassador accredited exclusively to AU and the UNECA. Actually, until then it was the Italian Ambassador to Ethiopia who held this role. Currently, in addition to Italy, there are 8 countries and international organizations that have done the same: EU, USA, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Japan, Morocco and Norway.

 

Visits of Italian political personalities to the African Union

  • 12 October 2018: meeting of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte with the Vice President of the AU Commission Kwesi Quartey, the Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui and the Commissioner for Social Affairs Amira Elfadil (https://au.int/en/pressreleases/20181012/african-union-and-italy-hold-substantive-talks-strategic-cooperation);
  • 7 December 2018: meetings of the Deputy Foreign Minister, Hon. Emanuela Claudia Del Re, with the Vice President of the AU Commission, Kwesi Quartey, and with the Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Sarah Anyang Agbor. Subsequently, VM Del Re also met with the Executive Secretary of UNECA, Vera Songwe, and the Director of the World Bank Office in Addis Ababa, Carolyn Turk;
  • 10 April 2019: meeting of the Minister of Defense, Elisabetta Trenta, with the Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui.

 

Visits of AU personalities in Italy

  • 24-25 October 2018: inaugural speech of the Second Italy-Africa Conference (Rome, Ministry of Foreign Affairs) by the Vice President of the AU Kwesi Quartey Commission;
  • 10-12 July 2019: visit to Milan by the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Amani Abou-Zeid, who had meetings with the Enrico Mattei Foundation and with Mrs Letizia Moratti, former Mayor of Milan.
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